Friday, January 29, 2010

Embracing Winter Cooking

Erika Janik

While lots of us, especially those who live in Wisconsin, can't wait for winter to be over, Anne Bramley eagerly waits for winter all year. It's her favorite time of year and one of her favorite times to be in the kitchen. Anne is the host of the podcast Eat Feed and the author of a cookbook celebrating her love of cold weather called Eat Feed Autumn Winter: 30 Ways to Celebrate when the Mercury Drops. Her enthusiasm for the season is infectious and you might soon start planning a meal around Burns' Night, Twelfth Night (there's a lot of "night" to celebrate in the winter), or just a post-ski meal.

Anne will be on to talk about her love of winter and winter cooking on the Friday food show. What winter foods do you love to make and eat?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Google vs. China for Jan. 28

This topic is deeply personal to me. I left China in 1990s out of frustration over the corruption and suffocating environment there. Years later, the country has achieved great success in upgrading its hardware (infrastructure, economy, Internet penetration, etc.), but not much in upgrading its software (political system, rule of law, media, etc.). The Google case is one indicator of that.

Just like the party rivalry in American politics, the fight between the two factions in the Chinese ruling party -- pro-business technocrats and leftist hardliners -- is equally bitter only much less open. It seems that the hardliners are gaining strength. The government recently tightened up its control on the media. It gave an 11-year jail sentence to a well-known moderate dissident writer for drafting an open letter, and fired the editor of the most independent magazine in China. Is Beijing’s tough stance on Google another sign that the hardliners are gaining an upper hand? Prof. Edward Friedman, from whom I took a course last year, is one of the best China experts I have known. He’ll give an excellent tale about the dynamics and intricacy of Chinese politics.

Google is not a usual company. Its innovative spirit and practice (check out The Google Way by Bernard Girard) have won many Chinese fans who look up to Google as a symbol of American entrepreneurship and business integrity. If even Google can’t stand up to the bully from Beijing, all those American talks about democracy and values will be just hot air. I’m glad that Sergey Brin, co-founder and co-CEO of Google, prevailed this time in Google's decision about China. Born in Soviet Union, he and his parents had first-hand experience of oppression, and developed strong rejection to authoritarian rule (check out The Story of Sergey Brin). But will Google always choose moral value against profit? Is Google's action to have any impact on China’s censorship policy or other international businesses’ practice? I have my doubts thus look forward to hearing what Prof. Friedman and you listeners have to say.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Way We See Haiti 1/25

On today's show we fill in the gaps and address the misconceptions we have about vodou and the history of Haiti. We talk to native Hatian anthropolgist, Gina Athena Ulysse and historian Kate Ramsey.

Check it out here or leave your own thoughts and questions below by leaving a comment.

You can also listen to last week's show pertaining to Haiti here, when we talked about witnessing and how hard it is to watch the devastation going on in Haiti. You can also continue that conversation on the post about the show below.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jean's Pick of the Week - January 22nd

Joe Hardtke

Jean asked ace producer Carly Yuenger to describe how she found a unique angle on the Haiti earthquake in our Pick of the Week.

You can download and listen to the program right now in the Here on Earth archive.

Witnessing Haiti 1/21

Carly Yuenger

On yesterday's show we took the time to talk about our emotional reaction to the devastation in Haiti and about how witnessing the suffering of others, as difficult as it is, can be productive.

Witnessing pain and destruction can make us feel numb and disconnected. It can even bolster negative stereotypes. But, as our guests and callers pointed out, it can also bring about empathy, solidarity, political resolve, and understanding.

Take a listen as our guests, Kaethe (kay-tah) Weingarten, a Harvard professor of psychology and the director of the Witnessing Project, and Carrie Rentschler, a communications professor at McGill, talk us through the pitfalls and potentials of witnessing.

Or, leave a comment below with your thoughts:
  • How has the media coverage of Haiti made you feel?
  • How do you keep from feeling "compassion fatigue"?
  • How can we transform our concern for the people of Haiti into something that lasts after the media coverage subsides?

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Web: For Better or Worse 1/14

Carly Yuenger

Yesterday's show was a big hit. Jaron Lanier, father of virtual reality technology, joined us to talk about a manifesto he's been working on for a while, finally released as a book, You Are Not A Gadget.

Lanier was around when the internet was being invented. Now, he wants to remind us how that happened, and didn't happen... That is, he argues that it's time to reconsider the way computer technology has evolved and remember what it can't do. And the stakes are high...

During the show we talked about what it means to be human, the utopian ideals of software designers, and the ever elusive creative process.

If this gets your gears going, have a listen to the show here, or post your thoughts below: How has the internet changed the way you think, the way you construct your identity, or how you make art? Are there times you feel dehumanized by the technology in your life? Are you satisfied with what the internet has become? What do we need to critique about it?

Heavenly Food - 1/15

Dominique Haller

On today's show, we'll be talking to Madeline Scherb about her book A Taste Of Heaven. Madeline traveled to several monasteries and convents in Europe and North America to learn from monks and nuns about their way of enjoying food. The result is part travelogue, part cooking book, with interesting insights into the historical background of the places she has visited. On her website, Madeline also offers unique gourmet gifts including foods made by monks and nuns. While writing A Taste Of Heaven, Madeline realized that many of the edible gifts made by monasteries are still unavailable beyond their walls. Her website is helping to change that, which also helps the monasteries survive.

Have you ever visited a monastery and had the good luck to eat some of the food prepared there? What can you tell us about your observations on who monks and nuns prepare their food?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When's the going gets tough, some people... cook

Erika Janik

Suzan Colon, author of Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for  Hope in Hard Times, is the guest on this week's Friday food show.When Colon was laid off from her dream job during the economic downturn, she felt the need to "cut back and hunker down." And she did so with a little help from her grandmother in the form of her tattered Depression-era recipe book. Leafing through the pages of handwritten recipes, as well as her grandmother's commentary, Colon discovered that cooking was the key to her family's survival in hard times.

The recent recession seems to have caused a lot of people to turn back to the Depression for inspiration, especially in food. People are looking for frugal recipes and cookbooks. Many want to learn to cook from scratch to save money.

Seeing a trend, 93-year-old Clara Cannucciari jumped on board. Born in 1915, she grew up in Chicago during the Depression working, get this, at Hostess filling Twinkies! Now she's on YouTube teaching a new generation how to make the simple, inexpensive food that her family used to eat during those hard times.

What foods did your mother, grandmother, or other family member make for you? What memories do these foods evoke? Tune in to Hear on Earth: Radio Without Borders on Friday at 3PM CT to hear Suzan Colon discuss the food that sustains us through life's difficulties.